Personalities | Emilio de’ Cavalieri | Early & Middle Baroque | Opera

c. 1550–1602, Italian

Emilio de’ Cavalieri – composer, teacher, dancer and organist – was born in Rome. At the de’ Medici court in Florence, he organized the family’s spectacular celebrations and was also involved with the innovative Camerata group and their experiments into the stile rappresentativo (representative style). In 1589, Cavalieri contributed madrigals and concluding music for the intermedi (interludes) staged in Florence; the chorus that began the finale became one of the most popular melodies of its time. However, like Peri, Cavalieri fell foul of Giulio Caccini. Cavalieri wrote La contesa fra Guinon e Minerva (‘The Dispute between Guinon and Minerva’, 1600) for the wedding of King Henry VI of Spain. Caccini’s Il rapimento di Cefalo was also to be performed on this occasion, but Caccini sabotaged Cavalieri’s attempts to take control of the production. In disgust, Cavalieri returned to Rome. There he introduced the new style of music to a new audience with a sacred opera, sometimes called the first oratorio, La Rappresentatione di Animo e di Corpo (‘The Story of the Soul and the Body’). This presaged the role of Rome as a major centre of Baroque opera some 30 years later.

Introduction | Early & Middle Baroque | Opera
Major Operas | La Rappresentatione di Animo e di Corpo by Emilio de’ Cavalieri | Early & Middle Baroque
Personalities | Francesco Cavalli | Early & Middle Baroque | Opera
Performance | The Florentine Intermedi of 1589 | Roots of Opera


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